Two Alone


calvin_icon.gif cash_icon.gif

Scene Title Two Alone
Synopsis Two people meet up who share a similar goal.
Date May 10, 2011

Ruins of Midtown

Standing in the ruins of Midtown, it's hard to believe New York is still a living city.

There's life enough around the fringes — the stubborn, who refused to rebuild somewhere else; the hopeful, who believe the radiation is gone, or that they somehow won't be affected. Businesses, apartment complexes, taxis and bicycles and subways going to and fro — life goes on. Perhaps more quietly than in other parts of the city, shadowed by the reminder that even a city can die, but it does go on.

Then there is the waste. The empty core for which the living city is only a distant memory. Though a few major thoroughfares wind through the ruins, arteries linking the surviving halves, and the forms of some truly desperate souls can occasionally be glimpsed skulking in the shadows, the loudest noise here is of the wind whistling through the mangled remnants of buildings. Twisted cords of rebar reach out from shattered concrete; piles of masonry and warped metal huddle on the ground, broken and forlorn. Short stretches of road peek out from under rubble and dust only to disappear again shortly afterwards, dotted with the mangled and contorted forms of rusting cars, their windows long since shattered into glittering dust.

There are no bodies — not even pieces, not anymore. Just the bits and pieces of destroyed lives: ragged streamers fluttering from the handlebar which juts out of a pile of debris; a flowerbox turned on its side, coated by brick dust, dry sticks still clinging to the packed dirt inside; a lawn chair, its aluminum frame twisted but still recognizable, leaning against a flight of stairs climbing to nowhere.

At the center of this broken wasteland lies nothing at all. A hollow scooped out of the earth, just over half a mile across, coated in a thick layer of dust and ash. Nothing lives here. Not a bird; not a plant. Nothing stands here. Not one concrete block atop another. There is only a scar in the earth, cauterized by atomic fire. This is Death's ground.

It's 5 o'clock AM and all is well deep in the ruins of Midtown, night giving gradual way to a ghostly veil of blue behind stars closest to the horizon. Tatty bits of rotting tarp and newspaper tag along quiet in the wind, stirring crushed concrete and ash through snags of rebar and rusting struts snarled up from the street in the vaguely rectangular shape of what was once a building's bottom floor.

Calvin's seated therein upon a raised section of half-crumbled wall, bare feet curled gargoyle like around cool stone. His profile is made easier to pick out by the flirt and flutter of his long black coat, tails flagging slack in wind while his crest of dreads takes on a less lively drift.

He is waiting.

The wee hours of morning may not be the ideal hours of travel in this city, but it works well enough for some. A patrol gets too close, and Cash can just move against the edge of a building and mimic a shadow until it passes— Having been married to someone quite adept in sneaking up on people, she learned to feel as much as listen.

And that is especially true in her stone form.

That heavy form has a few disadvantages, though, one of which is not being quiet. There's a crack of less stable rubble under her granite boots, a light thump that accompanies her steps. As soon as her senses catch the shape she'd been looking for, that changes. A few steps and the pale granite melts away into flesh and cloth and leather, and the heavy steps become lighter.

"I am alone," she states in a calm voice, steel blue eyes steady. The declaration acts as her greeting.

Calvin's skull turns on an osprey swivel at the sound or sensation of regular impacts reverberating dull through the desolation, further giving him away at a distance. His eyes shine, too, upon closer inspection: the same spectral argon blue that becomes his father. Also like his father, he does not turn them off to be polite.

Rather, he sizes her up with renewed intensity when granite thaws to flesh and resettles himself on his rubble throne, silt sifting cold through a curl of his toes. As far as being up front from the start goes, a mild, "Well, I hope that's not why you're here." will have to do.

"I'm not very good company lately."

"Some would say you were rarely good company," Cash says in the closest she'll likely get to a joke, even if it's said without any humor at all. A few steps bring her closer, but she settles her hands into the pockets of her denim jacket as she comes to a stop. "But no, that is not why I asked to see you."

Tall and lanky, she's built with some muscles, but her stature and form hides most of them, but the severe lines of her face where the pale light hits could almost be masculine, if they didn't retain some delicacy.

"You told Abigail about her husband— I know why you did it, to protect your father, but I had things under control. Now you may have forced the situation where she will kill him sooner, rather than later. I have told her to stay away from him, but— she often does the opposite of what she has been told."

Teeth shown wolf white in the semidark stand in as evidence to the survival of Calvin's sense of humor, more amused by the idea of Cash making a joke than the joke itself. If it was a joke.

If it wasn't, her blatant aversion to tact should suffice for whatever entertainment value he cares to squeeze out of her.

He doesn't laugh, though, his own profile cut stark in what little ambient light there is to see by, irises lit like cold-burning coals. Brighter than the rest of him.

"Muldoon deserves to die," is hardly a controversial standpoint to take, he feels, "sooner, rather than later. And while we all love our mothers independently of the harm they inflict upon ourselves, others and society out of self-interest or sheer stupidity, do endeavor to understand that my heart is very small and very tired and so hard-pressed to have enough love for even just the one."

"I agree that Muldoon deserves to die," Cash says simply once he's finished, jaw set in a tight line for a moment. That harsheness that crosses her face has hints of anger, directed at the man they're speaking of, wherever he may be. From anyone else it would barely convay anything— but from her it's the equivalent of a sneer. The anger is gone as quickly as it appeared.

"That is why I intended to kill him, so she would never have to have that blood on her hands." Without much in the way of emotion, the statement comes off as cold, if resigned. "My plan would have saved your father and her both, but now I have to rush my hand, to make sure I beat her to it."

Taking things the slow way had always been her way— but occasionally a push in the direction isn't so bad.

"So…" says Calvin, who remains approximately as sympathetic as the rise of wall he's lounging on, "you'll have to kill him sooner, then."

His right hand turns itself slowly over, simultaneously emphasizing inherent reason and inquiring after the problem, here.

"Which means that we're still in agreement. About the killing, I mean. If anything I feel like I'm doing you a favor by making you more efficient?" It's hard to see the way his brows twitch into a knit — mock skepticism for her displeasure. Fortunately(?) the sentiment carries over very well in his tone.

"I could help. Or — drop her in a well until he's croaked."

There's a long pause, in which one must think she's considering the options. Taking her time, as she is want to do. Even before Cash found out her ability, she often did things only after a lot of thought, or with an incessant push from an outside force to get her moving. Usually that had been her husband— here it seems to be someone entirely different.

"You did not do me a favor in threatening her," is what she settles on, duller blue eyes focusing on his luminescent ones. "So no, I do not accept your help in distracting her, if it means her harm or imprisonment— however, I will accept your help in killing him. You may have some information I need, in fact— Do you know where I can find John Logan?"

The bad thing about having bio-luminescent peepers is that it's very easy to see when Calvin rolls his eyes partway through Cash's quietly taking for-fucking-ever to answer. Like always.

He closes them after that, content to keep the time to himself in the quiet while he can. A grackle croaks somewhere within the devastated block and he settles heavier against broken stone. Worn.

He doesn't open up right away again when she answers either, trusting enough of whatever diamond-dense honor code she goes by to let his guard slip while they're still early in the game. He hasn't hurt anyone she cares about.


"In a church," he says. "On an island."

Only a few people he could hurt would even qualify, in this time that they live in. Despite everything else he could be accused of, she doesn't see him hurting those few— except perhaps her mother, whom he's already threatened.

"A church— very well, that gives me enough of a lead that I can take myself the rest of the way," Cash answers in her slow style, adding more words than necessary to say what she needs. Adds to the time it takes to say it— but perhaps better than the silence.

"Once I have located Muldoon, I will let you know if I need your help in insuring he dies." As she takes a step back, light leather boots barely making a sound to contrast the heavy falls that lead her to this place, before she adds, almost as an afterthought. "Do not worry, I do not intend to kill John Logan."

"Who's worried?"

Not Calvin, who rolls and slits his eyes slowly back open to give her one last thorough raking over before he hooks a hand around to scrub under the hood of his brow. There are no recording devices. There is no one else.

She is alone and so is he on his rock.

With a bottle of aspirin.

Which rattles out into the onset of dawn only once she's gone far enough to be out of easy earshot.

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